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John E. Hoover: Ride along with OHP Lt. Brian Orr on his police escort with the Sooners

John E. Hoover: Ride along with OHP Lt. Brian Orr on his police escort with the Sooners

Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley is escorted onto Owen Field by OUPD Master Sgt. Steve Chandler (left) and OHP Lt. Brian Orr. (PHOTO: John E. Hoover)

NORMAN — Whether he’s on the friendly confines of Owen Field, a neutral madhouse like the Cotton Bowl or on the road at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley might be the safest man in America on any given fall Saturday.

That’s because when it’s gameday, Riley’s bodyguard is Brian Orr.

Orr, 45, is the Oklahoma Highway Patrolman assigned to protect the Sooners football coach. He’s 6-2, 240 pounds of muscle on muscle, a brawny and brave sentinel with an eagle eye and razor wit, a former small college linebacker who patrols rural byways and Sooner sidelines with equal square-jawed seriousness.

When Riley shakes hands with Matt Campbell or Tom Herman or Bill Snyder — or if Riley should ever come across an unruly fan — Orr cuts an imposing figure over the coach’s shoulder.

“He’s funny,” Riley says of Orr, “but you can see when he kind of clicks into that mode, too: When it’s business time, he’s all business.”

Orr isn’t alone in his duties; he’s actually just the most prominent member of the security detail assigned to Riley. Although less visible than Orr, the man in charge of coordinating Riley’s safety — and for the previous 11 years, the safety of Bob Stoops — is University of Oklahoma Police Department Master Sgt. Steve Chandler. Orr jokes that Chandler is the brains of the outfit, while he’s the brawn.

Franchise host and columnist John E. Hoover was granted special access to a full day ride along on Orr’s patrol shift as well as on the Sooners’ police escort on game day. To read the rest of Hoover’s profile at Sporting News, click here:

 

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. Brian Orr gives directions to a trucker during a traffic stop near Meeker. (PHOTO: John E. Hoover)

OHP Lt. Brian Orr gives instructions to a trucker during a traffic stop near Shawnee. (PHOTO: John E. Hoover)

OHP Lt. Brian Orr talks to a trucker about his illegally secured load during a traffic stop near Harrah. (PHOTO: John E. Hoover)

OHP Troopers (from left) Troy Thompson, Brian Orr, Tyson Wright and Jason Richardson share a laugh after a breakfast break from a recent patrol shift. (PHOTO: John E. Hoover)

OHP Lt. Brian Orr laughs with pro wrestling icon Jim “J.R.” Ross before Oklahoma’s recent game against Iowa State. (PHOTO: John E. Hoover)

Lincoln Riley is escorted into the locker room before OU’s game against Iowa State (PHOTO: John E. Hoover)

Brian Orr and Krista Orr. (PHOTO: Courtesy)

 

Columns

Hoover wrote for the Tulsa World for 24 years before joining The Franchise, where he's now co-host of "Further Review" on The Franchise Tulsa (weekdays 12-3, fm107.9/am1270) . In his time at the World, Hoover won numerous writing and reporting awards, including in 2011 National Beat Writer of the Year from the Associated Press Sports Editors for his work covering the Oklahoma Sooners. Hoover also covered Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Oral Roberts and the NFL as a beat writer. From 2012 to 2016, Hoover was the World's lead sports columnist. As a columnist, Hoover won national awards in 2012 and 2014 from the National Athletic Trainers Association for reporting on sports medicine and in 2015 won first place in sports columns from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists. After receiving a journalism degree from East Central University, Hoover worked at newspapers in Ada, Okmulgee, Tahlequah and Waynesville, Mo. He played football at Ada High School and grew up in North Pole, Alaska. Hoover and his family live in Broken Arrow.

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